Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

First grade students' awareness of final consonant clusters in monomorphemic words: Does dialect matter?
by Shollenbarger, Amy, Ph.D., University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 2014, 154; 3621713
Abstract (Summary)

The achievement gap between Black and White students is persistent and long-standing. African American English (AAE) varies from Mainstream American English (MAE) in both morphosyntactic and phonological features. The purpose of this study was to investigate first grade participants' representation of final consonant clusters in Consonant-Vowel-Consonant-Consonant (CVCC) words in rhyming and segmenting tasks. Fifty-three first graders, assigned to two dialect groups (i.e., AAE and MAE), participated in the study. The research questions under investigation were: (a) Do first grade students who speak AAE differ from their MAE speaking peers in rhyming and segmenting words with contrasting features? and (b) Do first graders' responses to the rhyme and segmentation tasks differ based on the stimulus presentation (i.e, real words – no model, real words with a model, or nonwords with a model)?

Nonparametric log-linear analyses were used to answer the research questions. There was no difference between the responses from the groups regarding CVC control words. For the experimental CVCC words, there was a significant interaction between group, task, and type of response for both the rhyme and segmentation experimental tasks. The AAE group had significantly more dialect responses (rhyming CVCC words with CVC words and segmenting CVCC words as CVC) compared to the MAE group across all experimental tasks. In the rhyming tasks, both groups' responses changed across the three types of stimulus presentations similarly. In the segmentation tasks, only the AAE group changed across the different stimulus presentations. Specifically, AAE speakers chose increasingly fewer AAE responses as the stimulus presentation moved from real words with no model, modeled real words, and nonwords.

The findings in this study show that AAE speakers' responses to phonological awareness tasks are influenced by the type of stimulus. The findings of this study suggest that AAE-speaking students may have competing underlying phonological representations that affect their performance on some phonological awareness tasks. The relationship between dialect, task, and response type should be considered when assessing and teaching phonological awareness skills.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Robinson, Gregory
Commitee: Gentry, Betholyn, Lance, Dee M., McDaniel, D. Mike, Taran-Michael, Valentina
School: University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Department: Communication Sciences and Disorders
School Location: United States -- Arkansas
Source: DAI-B 75/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Language arts, Linguistics, Speech therapy
Keywords: Consonant clusters, Dialect, Literacy, Phonological awareness
Publication Number: 3621713
ISBN: 978-1-303-92997-7
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